JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — An Interlachen man was sentenced Tuesday to seven years and six months in federal prison for receiving child pornography over the Internet. This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, the Putnam County Sheriff's Office, the Bradford County Sheriff's Office, and the U.S. Marshals Service.
In addition, Franklin Stuart King, 40, was ordered to serve a life term of supervision and register as a sex offender upon his release from prison.
"Child predators targeting our most vulnerable members of society is a serious crime," said Susan L. McCormick, special agent in charge of HSI Tampa. "HSI is committed to apprehending individuals who sexually exploit our children and deprive them of their innocence."
According to court documents, an HSI special agent in Jacksonville began an investigation to identify individuals in that area that had access to and/or were trading images and videos depicting child pornography over the Internet. Using specialized software, the agent determined that a host computer using an Internet Protocol (IP) address in Putnam County was hosting images of child pornography using a file-sharing program. The special agent made a successful connection to this host computer over the Internet and downloaded several images that depicted child pornography. Further investigation revealed that the subscriber information traced back to King's residence in Interlachen.
Subsequently, HSI agents and other officers executed a federal search warrant at King's residence. Agents seized, among other things, King's computer and other items of electronic media. A forensic analysis of King's computer media revealed that it contained a total of 808 images that featured the sexual abuse of minor children. King has been in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service since his Oct. 10 arrest.
This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.
HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.